NEW BEDFORD – One of the three competitors for offshore wind power contracts and turbine development south of Martha’s Vineyard has partnered with a Danish investment company, signaling another big power play in the wake of the state’s landmark energy legislation.
New Jersey-based OffshoreMW announced Thursday that it had recently been bought by an investment fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
“We’re very excited to have the backing of the CIP family as we move full speed ahead in developing our lease area,” Erich Stephens, executive vice president of New Jersey-based OffshoreMW, said in a Thursday press release. “CIP’s team is comprised of some of the pioneers in the offshore wind sector, extremely knowledgeable and experienced people who helped make offshore wind the world’s most promising source of energy today.”
Stephens said in addition to financial backing, CIP also will provide “senior management and technical expertise” to OffshoreMW, which has a lease for turbine development on federal waters about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.
Also holding leases in that broad ocean area are Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind, which just completed installation of a five-turbine pilot project off Block Island, and Denmark-based DONG Energy, which has built more than 20 offshore wind farms in northern Europe and has plans to build up to 600 turbines off the coast of England, and is known in Massachusetts as Bay State Wind.
CIP’s five leading partners “have held top management positions at, (among other firms) DONG Energy,” according to CIP’s website.
OffshoreMW also announced Thursday that its Massachusetts project has a formal name: Vineyard Wind. The name reflects the company’s ongoing local partnership with Vineyard Power, a non-profit energy cooperative serving Martha’s Vineyard.
OffshoreMW announced earlier this month that it had hired longtime New Bedford fisherman and industry advocate Jim Kendall as its fisheries representative.
The statewide energy bill signed Aug. 8 by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker requires utilities to buy long-term offshore wind contracts totaling at least 1,600 megawatts between 2017 and 2027, and means the three lease-holders could be competitors in coming years.
“We’re fully expecting there to be a robust, competitive bid, and we’re fully expecting the market to play itself out,” said state Rep. Tom Golden, a Lowell Democrat who’s chairman of the legislators’ Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.
Comparing the three companies to “three people in a lifeboat,” Golden added: “They’re going to slug it out – and the winner at the end of the day, no question, is the ratepayer.”
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